“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”

– Helen Keller

As we enter our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed the power of community and the spirit of cooperation in overcoming obstacles. Indeed, 2021 served as an example of cooperation of supporters of Lake Clear. With this spirit in mind, we wish to share with you some examples of how we can achieve our common goals through cooperation within our community.

LCC Inaugural Online Silent and Live Auction

As you may know, the annual LCC Dinner includes a silent/live auction and participants are able to bid for their favourite items. This is an important fund-raising activity for the LCC. Unfortunately, the COVID19 pandemic stymied our efforts to hold the Dinner in 2021 – for the second year in a row.

In the face of this adversity, a new course was charted. A dedicated team of resourceful and energetic volunteers successfully ran the LCC’s first online silent/live auction.

As in previous years, the generous support of local businesses contributed significantly to the success of the auction. The original goal of securing 40 donations was surpassed. In all, 63 items were donated to the Auction and almost $12,000 was raised. These funds will be used to support, for example, the acquisition of conservation easements, as opportunities arise. The fact that 22 local businesses contributed auction items in the face of tough pandemic-related economic conditions demonstrates the importance of community to achieve common goals. Letters of appreciation were provided to donors as well as recognition in the Eganville Leader.

The auction involved over 130 participants, more than could be reached at a single dinner fundraising event. In addition, several residents of Eganville were active participants in the auction. Several valuable lessons were learned that will assist the LCC in planning future auctions, whether they be live, online or hybrid.

Wilderness Camping

2021 was the 16th season of the LCC’s management of Island camping on Crown land by virtue of a land use permit issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and held by Bonnechere Valley Township. This program was initiated by the LCC in response to extensive damage caused by campers on several of the Crown islands. The goal of this camping management program is to encourage and promote “leave-no-trace” camping practices and increase camper accountability (Figure). It was not established to promote or increase camping on Lake Clear’s islands. Indeed, under this program, the great majority of campers are conscientious and respectful, as the condition of the islands will attest. (lakeclearconservancy.org/island-camping-program/).

As in previous years, volunteers installed new signage at camp sites, prepared site privys, stabilized campsite platforms, and removed minor amounts of residual refuse. A local student was hired by the LCC to monitor designated camping sites during the camping season. Registered campers continue to follow wilderness camping guidelines at designated sites. This is a testament to the effectiveness of this camping program – the prevention of degradation of the islands.

Despite these efforts, camping on Crown islands not designated for wilderness camping by the MNRF persists. These islands are not actively monitored and there is always a risk of catastrophic destruction of an island due to careless campfire management. The goodwill of cottagers and other visitors who have taken the time to advise the LCC of destructive behaviour on crown lands demonstrates the power of community in the stewardship of the lake. If you see camping on nondesignated Crown Islands, please do not hesitate to notify the LCC at lakeclearconservancyboard@gmail.com. If you see illegal activity related to this “rogue” camping, please contact the MNRF Tip Line at 1-877-847-7667.

Guidelines for Campers - sign found at each campsite
Figure – Example of updated signage posted at campsites on Muddy, Haines and Blueberry Islands, the only three islands on which wilderness camping is permitted.

2022 and Beyond

Many of you have noticed increased amounts of green algae in the lake, as well as slippery rocks. Because a natural shoreline is the best way to keep phosphorus and other pollutants out of the water, the LCC has engaged with the Love Your Lake program (loveyourlake.ca), a collaboration of Watersheds Canada and The Canadian Wildlife Federation. They will bring their expertise to Lake Clear and will assess the shoreline overall and will be providing helpful advice to interested property owners as to how to make their shoreline healthier. We have also engaged with the Natural Edge program (naturaledge.watersheds.ca). In the summer of 2023, with the information gleaned during our participation in Love Your Lake, the Natural Edge program will provide help and funding to carry out the recommendations to those property owners who choose to participate. Even if you only change one thing, you will be doing something good for our lake. By acting together as a community, we can achieve our common goal of ensuring that generations to come can benefit from the riches Lake Clear has to offer. Stay tuned for more on these initiatives in the months to come.

The LCC welcomes your feedback and your questions. You can reach us at lakeclearconservancyboard@gmail.com. Thank you for reading!